An app-based ride-provider checks orders on his smartphone in Foshan, Guangdong province. (Photo provided to China Daily)
In the fast-expanding sharing economy, online ride-hailing has emerged the most popular service. More than 30 percent of consumers polled for a survey said they have used the service, said McKinsey & Co in a report.
Ride-hailing saves time and offers convenient access to cars－two factors why Chinese consumers prefer it over public transportation these days, according to the survey that polled 2,900 people in 40 cities.
The survey report said there were more than 10 million active users of ride-hailing services in China at the beginning of this year.
About 67 percent of the respondents said one ride typically saves 17 minutes. Only 5 percent said rides take more time－six minutes more－than public transportation. Another 28 percent said they found rides and public transport roughly take the same amount of time.
McKinsey conducted a separate survey in New York. "The time advantage was reported more in first-tier cities in China than in New York," said Wu Ting, partner at McKinsey.
Chinese consumers trusted car drivers and ride firms less than their New York peers. Only 16 percent of Chinese consumers said app-booked rides are safer than regular taxis, while 32 percent believe taxis are safer. In New York, 28 percent of the respondents said app-booked rides are safer, while 22 percent said taxis are safer.
In China, app-related drivers are mostly part-time workers－only 26 percent are full-timers. In New York, however, 76 percent are full-timers, suggesting China is ahead in terms of practising the concept of sharing economy, which underlines optimization of existing resources at a lower cost, the report said.
Sharing economy has impacted social development: people are more inclined now to use environment-friendly transport that also eases traffic congestion. About 80 percent of Chinese respondents said they prefer such vehicles.
Analysts said businesses riding the sharing economy may also see stricter regulation as competition intensifies.